Saturday, July 14, 2012

There are monsters outside.

I turned 38 years old yesterday. For more than 10 years I have had this annual sulk about how my life didn't turn out like I planned; which is kind of rich coming from someone who never had a plan for her life in the first place.

Since my mid-20s I have had this obsession with trying to keep my personal monsters at bay with massive levels of organization. I blame a couple of years of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for starting it. I was not born organized, but I have learned it over the past 10-12 years. My sanity seems to hinge on it at times.

It started with endless written lists, then Flylady, and a WhoMi agenda, then GTD and Lifehacker (which is the church of my religion) and webapps like Remember the Milk and Toodledo. I got a Samsung S Glide and with my new Android phone, my obsession with Google Calendar and other awesome Google products I am very close to organizing my personal life paper-free.

My new favourite to-do list is which works on the web and syncs with the phone app. I use my Google account to login, so there's not another web account to remember. I heart it to the power of eleventy1. I use Calendar for appointments and events and WorkFlowy for lists of things I want to remember but can't necessary set into action at the time I remember them. I also have a notepad and pen with me at all times, and set the items I write down as either a to-do in Astrid, and appointment in Calendar or a list item in WorkFlowy at the end of each day.

But all of this organization obsession masks my real fear of being out of control (again). I know exactly what to do, and often schedule what time to do it just so I know when to do it.

What the monsters do is fuck with my motivation. What the monsters do is tell me that it doesn't matter what I do, if I am not exceptional at it - it's worthless. What the monsters do is help me check "complete" when it's not really done. They convince me to hit the snooze bar or reschedule to a more "convenient" time.

They enable me to believe that it's just not worth the time or effort because I am not good at anything and trying won't change that.

I woke up this morning without a feeling of dread for the first time in a month or so. I checked in with Lifehacker (as Saturday is my holy day, it seems) and clicked around and found a link to a post that linked to a site that led me to remember two things and decide another:

  1. In a year I will wish I started today.
  2. I can refocus and start again.
  3. I decided to join DayZero.
I am going to try 101 Things in 1001 Days again. I only have 15 things on my list, but coming up with 101 things in about three hours seems a little... over-eager. But I have scheduled the time to do the things on my list and remind myself of my list. I'm making my list public because I have to be unafraid of failing and failing in public.

The monsters are still here. I can hear them laughing as I write this, because they think that I am not good enough to write, to create, and to get what I want and where I want to go.

I've already proved the monsters wrong. Only 499 blog posts to go.


  1. You know what? If you forget to do something on your list, the world will keep on going, around and around. Do what means the most to you and tell the monsters to f*&^ off.

    1. The thing of it is, if I didn't do something on my list, I would probably do nothing. For days on end. I have to set a reminder to eat.

  2. I can completely relate, I think some of your monsters are relatives of mine, the main thing is Lori that you actually are writing that list. I have an appt on Tuesday to get my Monsters looked at, I'm so not looking forward to it.
    Keep it up Lori, your honesty is inspirational and you are a kick ass woman deep down, even if the monsters are covering that up right now

  3. fucking A. I'm hitting the reset button this year. In my 20's I wanted to open a some sort of cafe/food court type eatery. Of course, as a single mom, money was the issue. Now, in my late 30's my daughter has a similar idea. This time, we're going to try to take the leap. Of course, the hurdle as usual is monetary, but that fear of failing has subsided. A

  4. Holy crap, if you have a Lady GaGa themed party, I am SO THERE.

    Also, I love you. And don't see you enough. Let's do coffee again soon.